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Policy on Speaking for Industry Adopted by School of Medicine in June 2008


Faculty must retain full control and authority over professional material s/he presents and must not allow such communications or presentations to be subject to prior approval by any commercial interest other than approval for the use of proprietary information. Faculty should not participate in speaking engagements (whether under written agreements or otherwise) that would violate this policy.

Exception to this policy may be granted by the School of Medicine Office of Policy Coordination to allow faculty participation in FDA-mandated training of providers for a new device or procedure.


The principles of professionalism may be compromised through participation in Speakers’ Bureaus. The activities of concern have the following characteristics:

  • A company has the contractual right to dictate what the faculty member says.
  • A company (not the faculty member) creates the slide set (or other presentation materials) and has the final approval for all content and edits.
  • The faculty member receives compensation from the company and acts as the company’s employee or spokesperson for the purposes of dissemination of company-generated presentation materials.

Any activity having one or more of the above characteristics is of concern whether or not it is labeled participation in a “Speakers’ Bureau”.

Brennan, et al stated in an article in JAMA in 2006 that “"Conflicts of interest between physicians’ commitment to patient care and the desire of pharmaceutical companies and their representatives to sell their products pose challenges to the principles of medical professionalism. These conflicts occur when physicians have motives or are in situations for which reasonable observers could conclude that the moral requirements of the physicians’ roles are or will be compromised."

As Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine faculty it is:

  • Inconsistent for a physician to be a paid agent of a pharmaceutical company who is required to present company materials and, at the same time, act as the agent of the patient and the public;
  • Unprofessional and unethical to present a drug company's, or anyone else’s, prepared materials as one's own;
  • Fundamental to maintain free and unhampered scientific inquiry and communication;
  • Essential to remain independent of commitment that would compromise the public trust.
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